‘Open my eyes and look around/Colours and concepts I confound…’*

Tandle Hill woodland (black and white)
As Tandle Hill was a favoured meeting place for Radicals and Socialists, Beech trees were planted to stop future meetings, leaving us this lovely woodland. Suffice to say, I am none too happy as to why they planted the trees in the first place, but then again…

The idyllic woodland of Tandle Hill Park belies its footnote in labour history. Up to the Peterloo Massacre, it was a meeting place for Radicals and reputed to used for drilling and practicing up to the 16 August 1819. Following on from the events which led to the Great Reform Act and other progressive legislation, it became a private game reserve of the Thornham Estate, who also planted the Beech trees.

100 years on, Tandle Hill was returned to the people of Royton, as a gift from previous owner and mayor of Royton, Norris Bradbury, Justice of the Peace. It was bestowed to the Roytonians as a peace offering to commemorate the end of the First World War. On the 01 July 1971, it became a country park, the then County Borough of Oldham’s first.

It is a good place for picnicking and getting away from urbanity, whilst being a 409 bus ride away. There are scenic walks around the beech woodland within its undulating terrain. On entering through the gates at Tandle Hill Road, the first thing which hits you is a quick glimpse of Oldham in the distance, slightly obscured by the trees. You can choose to walk along the woodlands itself, or venture a little further to the summit of Tandle Hill itself.

To get the full value of your time there, I heartily recommend climbing up to the summit, which from entry is towards the right hand side in the direction of Rochdale. The summit is marked by an obelisk unveiled on October 1921. On a clear day, you can see towards the left hand side the A627(M) and M62 motorways. Straight ahead, you can see the Scout Moor windmills, the Seven Sisters tower blocks and Rochdale town centre itself. On a clearer day, you can see Winter Hill in the distance.

If you walk along the hill, straight on from the obelisk, you can see Middleton and Manchester ahead. Should you keep towards the left hand side, again, walking along the top of the hill, you will be able to see Oldham town centre, Boundary Park (Oldham Athletic AFC of course), Oldham Edge and Shaw. On much clearer days, you can pick out Ashton-under-Lyne, Jodrell Bank and the Welsh Mountains.

You may choose to start or finish your day at the visitor centre and café, which is open during school holidays and weekends, subject to weather conditions. Outside of these times, I recommend taking your own sandwiches and drinks. Tea and coffee is well priced. There is also an adventure playground.

The hill is also immortalised in View from a Hill by The Chameleons, a Middleton band. It is the final track from their 1983 début album Script of the Bridge, and relates to (the lead singer) Mark Burgess’ experiences on the hill. The obelisk is also seen on the cover designed by fellow member Reg Smithies. It has also been the subject of the Barclay James Harvest song Mill Boys, taken from their 1974 album Everyone is Everything Else.

Getting There:

The 409 (First Greater Manchester) stop outside Tandle Hill Road and depart from Oldham bus station. You can also catch the 409 from Ashton-under-Lyne, Hathershaw, Royton town centre and Rochdale as well as Oldham. Though the 409 also has evening journeys, ww have only quoted the daytime frequencies.

Better still, though only on a daytime basis, MCT Travel’s 402 service to Summit stops on Tandle Hill Road. Once hourly, this offers another option.

  • 409 (Rochdale – Oldham – Ashton-under-Lyne): every 10 minutes, Monday – Saturday daytimes; every 15 minutes, Sunday and Bank Holiday daytimes;
  • 402 (Oldham – Royton – Thornham [Summit]): every hour, Monday – Saturday daytimes.

From Tameside:

  • (From Hyde): 330 (Stagecoach Manchester), 346, 387 (MCT Travel), 389 to Ashton-under-Lyne (all First Greater Manchester except 330, 387 and some 346 journeys, which are operated by Stagecoach Manchester) then 409 to Tandle Hill. Or, 201, 206, 341, 342, 344, 387 to Hyde bus station, then 330 and 409;
  • (From Dukinfield): 41 (MCT Travel), 346, 389 to Ashton-under-Lyne (all First Greater Manchester except 41, 330, evening and Sunday 389 journeys and some 346 journeys, which are operated by Stagecoach Manchester) then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Audenshaw): 217 (MCT Travel), 219, 347 (Stagecoach Manchester) to Ashton-under-Lyne then 409/402 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Mossley): 343 (Stott’s Tours), 340 (Stagecoach Manchester/First Greater Manchester) or 350 (First Greater Manchester) to Oldham, then 409/402 from Oldham to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Stalybridge): 236, 237 (Stagecoach Manchester), 348, 389 to Ashton-under-Lyne (all First Greater Manchester) or 387 (MCT Travel) then 409/428 to Tandle Hill. Or 408 to Oldham (MCT Travel, evenings, Sundays and Bank Holidays only) then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Droylsden): 7, 216, 217, 230, 231 (all Stagecoach Manchester except 217 which is operated by MCT Travel) to Ashton-under-Lyne, then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Denton): 335 (MCT Travel), 345 or 347 (both Stagecoach Manchester) to Ashton-under-Lyne, then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Ashton-under-Lyne): any bus towards Ashton bus station then 409 to Tandle Hill. Passengers from Waterloo may board 409 straight to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Mottram-in-Longdendale): 236/237 (Stagecoach Manchester – 237 operated by MCT Travel after 7pm) to Ashton-under-Lyne then 409 to Tandle Hill. Or, 341 to Hyde bus station, 330 and 409.

From Oldham and Saddleworth:

  • (From Saddleworth villages): 180, 184, 407, 350 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 402 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Chadderton): 58, 59, 81, 415 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 428 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Shaw): 181, 182, 408 to Royton then 409 or 428 to Tandle Hill. Or, 435 to Lower Place then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Fitton Hill and Holts Estate): 425 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 428 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Lees): 180, 184, 343 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 428 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Waterhead or Sholver): 81A or 83 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 402 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Failsworth and Hollinwood): 76, 81, 81A, 83, 149, 180, 183, 184 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 402 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Hathershaw and Royton): 409 to Tandle Hill.

From Rochdale and Middleton:

  • (From Rochdale): 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Middleton): 58, 59, 159, 415 to Oldham bus station then 409 or 402 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Heywood): 469, 471 to Rochdale bus station then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Littleborough): 453, 589, 590 to Rochdale bus station then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Milnrow and New Hey): 58, 59, 181, 182 to Rochdale bus station then 409 to Tandle Hill;
  • (From Whitworth, Healey and Bacup): 464 to Rochdale bus station then 409 to Tandle Hill.

S.V., 25 August 2012.

Updated on the 14 February 2019 to reflect recent service cuts.

* ‘View From A Hill’, The Chameleons (1983).

9 thoughts on “Go Cheapway… to Tandle Hill

  1. While it is Limited Stops after Royton Center I’m sure 24 actually stops near to Tandle Hills at Half Way House and isn’t that far a walk then to the park itself unfortunately its frequency has dropped now to hourly Mon-Sat and no service on Sundays.

    As for views from the obelisk at the top of the hill, I’m sure also on a clear day that you can see over to the Cooling Towers of Fiddlers Ferry power station between Warrington and Widnes and then to the right of that you might be able to pick out the Silver Jubilee Bridge aka Runcorn-Widnes Bridge

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    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for the shout on the views of Tandle Hill and the 24 route (alas in more modest form nowadays). Some of the most daring could also walk along Oozewood Road or Thornham Old Road towards Slattocks and get a 17 to Rochdale or Middleton. I would only recommend that in the summertime during more pleasant weather.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  2. Hi Stuart

    Great article; I never knew about Tandle Hill, but now I do I might visit the place.

    May I point out a little anomaly. The 335 is now run by First.

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    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the comment. I decided to visit after thinking to myself ‘there’s only so many times one could look around WHSmith or Poundland’. I then bumped into one of these Healthy Walkers type groups, a concordat between Oldham Council and the NHS Pennine Care Trust.

      I have now made the correction regarding the 335 route.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  3. There is another route as well as the 24, 409 and 428, which stops near Tandle Hill Park, which is the 402, which runs as ‘hail and ride’ on the Rochdale Road-end of Tandle Hill Road, as part of its circular around north Royton and Thornham. Stops slightly closer than the 409 (approx. 200 metres closer), although you still have the walk down Tandle Hill Road. Service runs every 30 mins.

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      1. A worthy addition, and the correction regarding the 428, Shaun.

        I’ve yet to try the 402, seems an interesting though tad convoluted route into Royton. Here’s one bus based duck I need to break!

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

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